This update was supposed to come on Wednesday, but is instead arriving two days late. My apologies. As repayment, let me take you back to the 13th of August, 2011. Que the spooky music and some time travel.
Alright, in case you all don't remember (not that I can blame you, it's been almost a month) the Saturday of Glen Oro found me trailering Cadence over to a friend's (G) farm, so we could trailer up to Glen Oro together. The plan was for us to go up together, show, and return together. We would be returning at around 9-10pm, so Cadence would spend the night at her farm and we'd bring her home in the morning. The Mare was a superstar, and hopped right from one trailer to another without a fuss. So different from the fire breathing pony that used to rear her ugly head whenever we'd try to trailer someplace.
We got caught in traffic heading up to Barrie (big surprise... damn cottage goers) and ended up getting there behind schedule. It was pretty close to my friend's dressage time, so she quickly got dressed, tacked up her pony (B), and haeded over to the dressage arena. Cadence and I still had about an hour, so we took our time getting ready and slowly meandered over. We crossed paths G and B as we headed over. They'd had an adequate test, but G thought it could have been better.
Now, I'm not sure quite what caused Cadence's.... attitude. Perhaps it was because we'd trailered up with a friend instead of by ourselves, but my normally wonderful dressage pony was doing things like cantering on the spot (for three whole strides, I kid you not) when I asked for a trot. We went in and rode our test, and sort of crashed and burned. She was tense, and it was all I could do to keep her from breaking. Sometimes we'd get some nice moments, othertimes I'd be riding a jackhammer. Fun fun fun!! I kept her in frame the whole time... it's what she knows and it's what she's comfortable with, but even with that we were still in like 10th place out of 15 at the end of dressage. She's normally first or second!! I mean, the test wasn't THAT awful.... but unfortunately I never got that test so I don't know what the judge's comments were.
Stadium warm up saw me with a nervous and excitable pony again. Our first attempt at a jump ended up in a dirty stop, but thankfully after that we pulled it together. We were the very last people to go for the whole day, and by the time we entered the ring most everybody had cleared off. We halted, saluted, and continued over the first few jumps. A couple of times, I could feel her ALMOST not make it over, but it wasn't till the fourth to last fence that we had a legitimate issue. She had a dirty run out, because she was focusing on the shed we were approaching. To help me explain it better, picture a huge rectangular grass ring. You're standing in the center along one of the long sides. Across from you, on the other side of the ring is a single black fence. This is the third to last jump. To your left, is another single. It's near the far side of the ring, close to the left hand rail. This is the jump Cadence ran out of. We circled and made it over, but she was still staring at the shed/garage/barn thing. Before we could even attempt the third to last fence, we were standing stalk still paralllel ot the jump, snorting at the shed in utter terror. Eventually, we were blown out. The judge offered to let us try a different fence to end on a good note, but I asked if I could just work her around the shed instead. With a "Sure, but don't get hurt" we headed over, and eventually were able to w/t/c on the rail, by the shed. When we attempted the fence, we jumped it fine so I continued on and finished the course.
I decided to ask if they'd let me out on XC, and sure enough I was waved right through with a 3, 2, 1, have a great ride! Yay! She cleared the first fence brilliantly, but then I was faced with a dillema. There were a few (two to be specific) fences on course that I knew she'd have an issue with. They were both in a line of trees that ran between two of the XC fields. After doing the first jump perfectly, I really didn't want to have any refusals. Should I quit on a good note? Should I give it a go and deal with the issues as they come? Or.... should I just skip the scary jumps? We're already out, why not! So that's what we did. I felt guilty doing it, but we made it around the course almost problem free. She stopped at one fence, a small 2'3 log perched just off the ground, but I gave her a boot and we popped right over it from a stand still! So technically, we never had a stop. It was exactly what she needed, a good confidence builder, save the elimination in stadium.
We trailered back (and had an interesting conversation with the coach (who couldn't be at the show) in the truck on the way home) and bedded the ponies down for the night. Her legs looked great, so I didn't bother poulticing. It was the next morning when I came to fetch her that her LH was impersonating a stovepipe.
OH! Tomorrow we've got a lesson, then Sunday we're going to a little hunter show to do 2'3 and 2'6 hunters. Wish us luck!